Dames Point Bridge and Park
The Dames Point Bridge (also known as the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
Bridge or Dame Point Bridge) spans the St. Johns River northeast
of downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Two miles long, and 175 feet above the
main channel of the river, the Dames Point Bridge connects northern Duval
County with the Arlington and Beaches area of Jacksonville via Florida Highway
9A. Opened to traffic in 1989, it is a premier example of the beautiful
simplicity of the cable-stayed bridge.
Bridge's Eastern Side ~ Bridge's Western Side ~ One
Point Perspective from Park ~ One Point Perspective
from Dames Point Road ~ Northern Tower and Palmetto
Tree ~ Looking Upriver from a Mile Away ~ Full Span ~ Underneath Center
Facing North ~ Northern Tower from Mid-Channel
~ Southern Tower and Quarantine Island ~ Southern Approach and Span ~ Northern
Small images link you to larger (20-32kb) and differently
proportioned image files.
This magnificent structure should become to Jacksonville what
the Golden Gate Bridge, Gateway Arch, or Sydney Opera House have become
to their respective cities: towering symbols of vibrance and individuality
which evoke the unique history of their location. From miles away, Dames
Point's graceful diagonal support cables look like the sails of a behemoth
phantom clipper ship coming into harbor. For five thousand years, humans
have navigated this passage in everything from dugout canoes to aircraft
carriers. Today, this modern colossus stands guard, an elegant entrance
to or exit from the pitching slate-blue infinity of the Atlantic.
Click here for links to other pictures and
info about the bridge.
Facts about Dames Point Bridge
Dimensions and Structural Specifics
America's longest cable-stayed bridge is two miles long, and 175 feet
above the main channel of the river. The central span of the bridge is 1300
feet between the two towers which are 471 feet above the waterline at the
top. The tower verticals are 7.25 feet thick and 35 feet wide at road level
and 15 feet wide at the pinnacle. Dames Point's foundations extend roughly
80 feet beneath the surface of the St. John's River. The dredged channel
underneath the bridge is 38 feet deep at high tide.
Dames Point Bridge carries six lanes of traffic on a deck 106 feet wide.
The concrete and steel deck is suspended by 168 steel cables which extend
from the towers and connect to the edge girder of the span at 35 foot intervals.
The cables consist of steel cable sheathed within steel pipe. The longest
cable is 720 feet long, the shortest 65. Twenty-one miles of steel cables
are used overall. Over 94,000 cubic yards of concrete were used.
Superlatives and Firsts
The Dames Point Bridge is the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in
the United States. It was the second cable-stayed bridge to be built in
Florida (Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway was completed in 1984). It is the only
bridge in the United States to feature the harp (parallel) stay arrangement
on two vertical planes, a design which rivals suspension bridges for strength
and beauty. A concrete pouring milestone was set during the construction
of the nothern pier foundation, as almost 19,000 cubic yards of concrete
was continuously poured for 47 straight hours.
History of The Bridge
The Dames Point Bridge proposal was first studied in 1976. The firm of
Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff was hired by the Jacksonville Transportation
Authority to design the main span. Plans were finalized and construction
bids went out in 1979. Hurricane force wind endurance and stability, use
of Florida materials, shipping concerns and aesthetics were some of the
principle design considerations.
The slumping bond market of the early 1980's caused the Dames Point Project
to be shelved for financial reasons until 1983-84 when new construction
bids went out. The $47 million contract was awarded to a joint venture of
the Pensacola and Tyger Construction Companies.
Construction commenced in 1985. The main span was completed in July 1988.
No one was killed during the construction. The bridge opened for highway
traffic in 1989.
The bridge is now maintained by the Jacksonville Transit Authority, and
will be the centerpiece of the Interstate 295 perimeter highway around Jacksonville,
which is still under construction.
From the beginning, Dames Point levied no toll, signalling the advent
of Jacksonville's rejection of toll bridges and roads.
Anecdotal stories and/or personal experiences about the bridge would
be greatly appreciated, especially if you worked on the construction or
have any kind of insight at all please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will try to include it on this page.
Please share any information you have . My areas of interest are general
anecdotal information and pictures. If you have good pictures, I can put
them on the net and give you credit.
Dames Point Park
is the best place to view the bridge up close. The park is maintained
by the City of Jacksonville and has parking, picnic area, pavillion, observation/fishing
pier, and restrooms. There is no fee, and I forgot to check the hours so
I am assuming sunrise to sunset is probably a safe bet.
To get to the park, exit off Florida 9A at the Heckscher Drive exit.
Immediately west of the 9A interchange on Heckscher is the intersection
with New Berlin Road. Head south (towards the bridge) on New Berlin. Drive
less than a mile to the intersection of Dames Point Road. Turn right onto
Dames Point Road. At the end of the road is the park.
At the park, be sure to stand directly under the bridge and look north
to view a majestic one point perspective of columns diminishing off to the
This was page originally published June 8, 1997. It was
last updated on March 25, 1998. I welcome you to link the page but do ask
that you e-mail me with the
URL of your page.
© 1997 Mike Strong